A short while ago when I was working at the Langdale terminal toll booth just as the Queen of Surrey was docking, I received a phone call from the bridge asking me to call an ambulance. Apparently, a gentleman had fallen down a flight of stairs returning to his vehicle, landing on the main deck partially under a car. This meant the potential for a serious head and/or neck injury.
I immediately complied and was put on hold – for some 10 minutes. At no point did I ever have any sort of communication with a human operator, just a recorded message that kept saying “don’t hang up,” nothing else. After the approximate 10 minutes, the bridge informed me to hang up as they also had a call on hold, which was an additional 3-4 minutes before getting through.
At the time there were sufficient ambulances and first responders available here on the Coast but they had no way of knowing as every call dispatcher in the city was busy. They are all based in Vancouver and they never knew what department was needed or how serious the situation was. In that length of time the gentleman’s situation could have deteriorated dramatically.
A local call station dealing with our local issues only could more than likely have prevented this and future situations from happening.
Dale Peterson, Gibsons